Ilse Koch on Trial: Making the “Bitch of Buchenwald.”

Harvard Univ. Apr. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780674249189. $35. BIOG
Ilse Koch (1906–67) has been reviled as one of the worst Nazi perpetrators. In this book, Jardim (history, Toronto Metropolitan Univ.; The Mauthausen Trial: American Military Justice in Germany) commits to the difficult task of separating facts from rumors of Koch’s purported crimes. Koch was infamous for particularly heinous crimes during the war, including having lampshades made from the skin of murdered Buchenwald prisoners. Of course, there’s sufficient evidence of many atrocious acts committed by her and fellow members of the Nazi party throughout the era, but, as Jardim details, there isn’t documentary evidence to support all of the claims against Koch. This book shows how Koch became somewhat of a scapegoat for many Germans, citizens and leaders alike, who were trying to distance themselves from crimes committed during the war. Jardim, a former fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, handles this subject matter with precision and delicacy.
VERDICT A solid analysis of one of the world’s most notorious war criminals. A recommended purchase for collections where related titles circulate well.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing